London design gallery, Mint is currently showcasing the work of French furniture designer and artisan Christophe Delcourt. He talked to The Insider about his love of wood, his style and his favourite possession
Can you describe the Christophe Delcourt style? It relies on a mix of different and mostly natural materials. I use as much wood as possible in both my furniture and interior design. It is my favourite material and my biggest source of inspiration. Trees are everywhere, change throughout the seasons and always look beautiful, even in the winter. They are also an ever-renewed, sustainable, source of material and are found everywhere, so they represent a very local source as well.
Two notions that are very important to me and always have been. Design-wise, wood is a very warm material to both the eye and the touch. And with its veins, every single piece has a pattern that makes it absolutely unique. One of the other great advantages of wood is how transformable it is. And thanks to the incredible skills of our artisans, we can go very far in that area.
A perfect example of that is the base of our new table, NIN, that we just launched this January. It is a masterful example of assembly. It has the overall shape of a wave and features an intricate play on hollow and full shapes. Not only does it allow the base of the table to play with light, but it also highlights the natural beauty of wood and the way our work on that wood embellishes it. It’s also a great way to bring some contrast to the piece, which gives it a rhythm I like and always try to create.
Talking about contrast, it’s another key element in my work. Whether it’s about lines, alternating sharp straight ones with curvier welcoming ones, as I just described, or about materials, confronting the warmth of wood to the minerality of marble, for example. And in that, I’d say my design aesthetic qualifies as very much French.
You are self-taught as a designer. How does this influence your pieces compared to furniture designers with a more formal training? I cannot speak for other designers. I learned my craft as a designer and an editor in the ateliers, hand in hand with artisans. As a result my vision for a new piece always comes from how it will be made.
What materials do you like to work with? As I said earlier, wood is my primary raw material and inspiration. My love for that material comes from my love for trees themselves. I have immense respect for trees, especially the ones we use that are over 100 years old. They were here before us; we hence have a great responsibility when it comes to cutting and transforming them. That is one of the many reasons why I like to think of our pieces as heirloom pieces. They are meant to beautify with time, become even more unique as their owners use them and be passed on from generation to generation.
In my search for contrast and texture, I also work with stone, ceramic or bronze. I also have an increasing interest in fabric as, since 2019, we have been developing our very own line – Delcourt Textiles. We’ve just launched our 8th collection this January and now carry over 80 references. I feel like the collection is a really good representation of what I, coming from a designer’s perspective, look for when I pick fabrics. That specific angle makes it different from what is already on the market and, I hope, also a great tool for interior designers all over the world.
What are you working on now? What we will be showing with Delcourt Collection in April, at the Salone del Mobile, in Milan. I cannot tell you a lot yet, but we found a beautiful space and cannot wait to unveil our novelties there. After three years playing at home, it’s an especially exciting idea, I must say! And we hope to see you all there.
What has been your most challenging piece? C. I am not a nostalgic and as such I hardly ever look back and try not to repeat myself in my work. That’s why the most challenging piece is always the next one.
What is your favourite possession? Definitely my horses, if one can ever claim to totally possessing a horse.
Pieces from Christophe Delcourt can be seen at Mint’s new Mayfair gallery until the end of April